Fire hero dashes into blazing house to save pal

Published: June 4, 2008 | 7121st good news item since 2003

A HERO friend burst into his burning house three times in a desperate attempt to rescue his flatmate.

Terry Collyer, 41, fought back intense smoke and flames after realising Peter Knight, in his 50s, was unconscious in his bedroom.

Mr Collyer, who lives with his 21-year-daughter on the ground floor of the shared home in Broad Street, Dagenham, had to flee downstairs twice during the rescue in the early hours of Monday morning after being overpowered by choking smoke.

He told the Recorder: “We woke one of the guys up and we managed to get him out but the other guy was semi-conscious.

“I stupidly ran upstairs and kicked the door in but there was so much smoke, I couldn’t breathe. I went downstairs twice to get my breath back.

“I just crawled to his bed and dragged him downstairs. Just at that moment the firefighters arrived.”

Fire crews from Dagenham Fire Station have called Mr Collyer a hero after the brave rescue. But the man himself is reluctant to hold that tag.

He said: “I could have killed myself doing it. It’s a normal thing to do, just instinct.

“You don’t think about what could have happened until after the event, I just hope someone would do the same for me.”

Mr Collyer, who is living with his ex-wife while the building is made habitable, said his daughter was the real hero after she smelt the smoke while upstairs and raised the alarm.

The cause of the fire is believed to be accidental, and possibly the result of an electrical fault with a microwave.

Mr Knight remains in hospital recovering from smoke inhalation, while the other man, also called Peter, is living with friends.

Three fire crews from Dagenham and Barking spent about 45 minutes putting out the blaze, with the house left suffering significant smoke and fire damage.

Published in Heroes
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